Day #4 | Sussex Rocks 2014 | Monsters Of Rock with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoThe penultimate day of Sussex Rocks Summer School is all about band performance. Students spent the early morning session rehearsing their songs to perform to their peers during a late-morning play back session with peer critique.

Bands assembled themselves into the rehearsal rooms to focus their attention on song structure, intros and endings, and rehearsing with the singers.


Intro Riff: ‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ is arguably Tony Iommi’s greatest, and most popular, riff; it could be contested that the intro riff to ‘Paranoid’ is greater, or more famous, but ‘Iron Man’ sure has captured the imagination of young learners since it was first featured in the Marvel Studios movie of the same name in 2008.


After lunch the Sussex Rockers worked studiously in the rehearsal rooms to finish learning their songs for Friday’s performance at Willingdon Community School at 3pm in the Drama Hall.

Expect to hear: ‘R U Mine?’ by Arctic Monkeys, ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day, ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley, and ‘Hey Stoopid’ by Alice Cooper among many other great classic rock songs!

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Day #3 | Sussex Rocks 2014 | Monsters Of Rock with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoWe have reached the midway point of Sussex Rocks Summer School and students have begun to hone their playing and performance skills in readiness for Friday’s gig.

The morning session started with some ‘Riff-Off’ practice. Students played ‘guess the riff’ game; whereby each student performs a chosen riff and the group has to guess the song name; the band name; and the guitarist who wrote/played the riff. It’s a fun game – try it!

Intro Riff: ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ by U2

The Edge is renowned for his relative simplistic approach to guitar playing and creative use of delay effects that have sculpted U2’s sound for the past 30 years. Here he uses a twin delay of 120ms and 360ms to build a lush texture using a ‘D’ chord arpeggio over D, G, Bm and A chords.


During the late-morning and afternoon sessions the group rehearsed their songs in bands. Songs included: ‘Time Is Running Out’ by Muse, ‘Hey Stoopid’ by Alice Cooper, and a short medley of classic rock riffs!



Day 3 saw the drummers start with a series of warm ups and composition exercises. One of the more popular ideas was that of saying what they had for breakfast and then playing the rhythmic pattern of those words on the drum kit. For example “I had sausage roll” translates as 1&a 2 + 3

We also started splitting into bands and learning the group songs that will be played on Friday at the end of week concert. There is still loads to learn but they are making great progress and having loads of fun.

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Day #2 | Sussex Rocks 2014 | Monsters Of Rock with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoDay 2 of Sussex Rocks Summer School began with a classic rock riff session. Students chose their favourite rock riffs; suggestions included: ‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin, ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC, and ‘Walk This Way’ by Aerosmith.

The group learned some classic rock riffs so that they can participate in a ‘Riff-Off’ on the final day when students will try to out riff each other to see who is the champion of riffs!

Intro Riff: ‘Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones

Arguably The Stones most famous song, and certainly one of the most recognisable intro riffs of all time, ‘Satisfaction’ was written in Keith Richards hotel room late one night. Richards had recorded himself jamming before falling asleep, and discovered the riff upon listening back to the tape the next day.


Once again students spent the afternoon session playing in their bands and rehearsing songs for the upcoming student performance. Below: The guitar class practice their classic rock riffs.



Today the drummers worked with dynamics, playing a single drum as softly as possible and bringing it up to a slow crescendo. We also looked at playing together as a group and how rudiments can be used as a basis for creating interesting and more complex patterns.

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Day #1 | Sussex Rocks 2014 | Monsters Of Rock with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoDay 1 of Sussex Rocks Summer School began with a meet and greet getting to know you session. Students introduced themselves to the group and discussed songs to learn during the week in readiness for the performance on Friday (1st August).

Songs discussed included: ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ by Slade, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana, and ‘Can’t Stop’ by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, among others.

During the morning session the guitarists learned how to play ‘Smoke On The Water’ by Deep Purple; the correct way.

Intro Riff: ‘Smoke On The Water’ by Deep Purple

What more can be said about the most famous riff in all of rock?!


In the afternoon session students gathered in groups to begin rehearsing their chosen songs. Check out Sussex Rocker, Archie, who learned how to play ‘Smoke On The Water’ today!



This year we have 6 drummers at Sussex Rocks, all with a great variety of abilities and styles. This gives us a brilliant opportunity for everyone to learn something new. Today we concentrated on drum solo’s. We looked at how to construct a solo, and what is needed to make a great drum solo.


Later this week there will be a drum battle where the students can use these skills to show off what they have learned. Really looking forward to tomorrow when we start on some songs and develop each of the students ideas for their own drum solo. – Phill Drew

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Day #3 | Sussex Rocks 2014 with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoDay 3 of Sussex Rocks at Cavendish School began with full-band rehearsals in readiness for the afternoon performance in The Little Theater.

The stage was setup, complete with drum riser and stacked amplifiers. The band was primed and ready to perform in front of friends and family.

The final setlist included:

I Love Rock N Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
Metal Guru – T Rex
Caroline – Status Quo


Where: Cavendish School
When: Tuesday 9th April, 2014
Time: 2:00pm
Entry: Free

Intro Riff: ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin

‘Whole Lotta Love’ is featured on the bands second album, Led Zeppelin II and was released in 1969. The song was used as the theme tune to Top Of The Pops in the 70s and 80s.

The riff is commonly misplayed with many guitarists failing to play the open fourth string while bending the fifth fret of the fifth string with a quarter note bend, creating an ear catching dissonance.


Students spent the afternoon session rehearsing under bright stage lights.


Some students performed for the very first time  while others honed their stagecraft and showing what they have learned over the past three days with confidence and style.

Thank You!

From the instrumental tutors; Richard and Phil, we thank all the students for a great few days, and roll on the Sussex Rocks Summer School!

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Day #2 | Sussex Rocks 2014 with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoDay 2 of Sussex Rocks at Cavendish School continued in fine form as students tightened up their performances of their chosen rock tracks ahead of the performance on Tuesday 8th April at 2pm inside The Little Theater.

Students spent the day rehearsing with head tutor Richard Perkins and were joined by drum tutor Phil Drew to help out resident drummer, Red.

In the morning session students learned how to play Bon Jovi’s 1986 mega hit ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’. TRIVIA: The original 45 vinyl single sold 800,000 copies, and in 2013 the song had achieved 3 million digital downloads (certified Triple Platinum).

Intro Riff: ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ by Bon Jovi

The opening riff begins with a driving bass groove that is supported synth strings and Richie Sambora’s catchy Talk Box guitar effect. The unique ‘meow’ vowel effect is synonymous with the 80s guitar sound and has been used by guitar players such as Peter Frampton and Slash, as well as Brian May and Dave Grohl.


During the afternoon session the South East rockers rehearsed their songs for tomorrows rock performance. In addition to Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ students also learned to play ‘Metal Guru’ by Marc Bolan’s T Rex.


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Day #1 | Sussex Rocks 2014 with Richard Perkins

sussex-rocks-2013-logoDay 1 of the half-term Sussex Rocks course at Cavendish School (The Little Theater) began with a group discussion about which songs to perform at the student concert on the afternoon of Tuesday 8th April.

Many songs were recommended, including; Black Country Communion, Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses.

We started the day with the mighty Status Quo song ‘Caroline’, which was released in 1973, and was featured on Quo’s ‘Hello!’ album.

Intro Riff: ‘Caroline’ by Status Quo

The main rhythm motif used by Status Quo in many of their hit songs is based around a repeating blues riff that uses F5, F6 and F7 chords. ‘Caroline’ is played in the key of F and built around three chords: F, Bb and C. The song has two main sections; Verse (12 bars) and Chorus (8 bars).



After lunch the group learned to play Joan Jett & the Blackheart’s 1982 cover version of ‘I Love Rock N Roll’, which was originally written and performed by Arrows in 1975.


Other songs covered on Day 1 include; ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana, and “Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin.

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